Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's so wrong with women being soft?

Kai Hibbard lost the weight. 118 pounds, in fact. And America watched her do it. As a contestant on Season 3 of The Biggest Loser, Hibbard had an experience she is now saying wasn't all that pleasant. Or healthy.

(insert sarcasm here) I'm shocked.

A television show brings on the heaviest people they can find and pushes them through extreme workouts and diets and dehydration to promote the idea that, "You, too, can lose 12 pounds per week!" with a verbally-abusive trainer and a food Nazi. All this can be yours if you just buy their books or their diets or their advice. And yes, they do accept Visa and Mastercard.

And this is unhealthy?
(insert additional sarcasm here) Say it isn't so.

I don't know if she's telling the truth that this is all about finally being honest and not making money, that she wants to be a proud military wife and stand beside her active-duty husband and not feel like a coward, that it's about setting right some wrongs.

I don't know if it's true. But I do know reality television sucks.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

I'm stepping on my soapbox. You've been forewarned.

I'm glad Kia was able to lose the weight, along with the other contestants. What I've always hated about this entire show, this whole culture, is the obsession with quick fixes and size. Health is only important if it leads you down the path of fast weight loss and the sculpted male-biceps of the First Lady.

Skinny is healthy, even though it's not. Bony is beautiful, even though it's not. Grown women starving themselves to look like 12-year-old girls and men salivating over their emaciated forms is natural, even though it really isn't.

You ever wonder how it is that being underweight is a sign of supposed health, while also being a symptom of fatal disease?

Today, I'm wearing my "V" shirt. It's the same one in my profile picture and a shirt I've worn so much it deserved a title. I wear it because it's soft. So very soft. I found it at Target. The design didn't get my attention. But then I reached out and touched it. And yes, I was hooked.

Wearing this shirt makes me happy. Period. It's gentle. Whispering. Almost dewy. It isn't all that feminine. But I love it because it feels feminine. Or at least what use to be thought of as feminine. The softness. The curves. The...I'm going to use this word...luscious form of the female body.

Women use to be celebrated for their roundness. Now it's sucked out, starved out, or cut off. Women were the weaker sex because we were the softer one. But that's no longer acceptable. What I see are bones. Lots of bones. And the more they stick out the hotter the women apparently are.

These days, the round bodies of painter Gustav Klimt would be put on a treadmill and told to cover up until their BMI dropped.

What's so wrong with women being soft? When did that become such a hostile concept? Fit is good. Health is good. I'm for both in a big, big way. But that's not, painfully obviously not, the goal. These days, women fluctuate between being painfully thin to overly sculpted. We've redefined the word "healthy" as "ripped" and everything else is sub par or primed for mockery.

I still remember President Obama even commenting in February 2009 during his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Laur how Jessica Simpson was "in a weight battle apparently." How dare gaunt Daisy Duke eat. I actually thought she looked good with her curves back.

I thought she looked unique, soft. I thought she looked feminine. And we simply can't have that.


JG said...

BAM! This is fabulous. JK Rowling wrote an editorial similar to this back, oh in 2006 I guess. Maybe 2005. Anyway, she mentioned how she went to some sort of social event and someone walked up to her and the first thing they said was, "Wow, you look amazing! Have you lost weight?" And she found this offensive, not only because she had just had a baby (so, duh!) but also because, after writing (at that point) 6 books, that was the only thing the person thought to compliment her on. Crazy.

Great post.

Tara Lynn Thompson said...

Awesome. I say that sarcastically.

Forget writing six books. She lost five pounds and the village killed the fatted calf. But didn't eat it because it was fat.

As women, we need to learn to like our physical selves, like how God designed us. Then take care of it.

Sainsguitar said...

Hum... well from (A) mans point of view... (Mine). I love, Love curvy women. (This is such a touchy topic by the way) I'm also all for a woman that works her but off in the gym and watches what she eats. I personally do the same thing. And yes sometimes its painful. Not unhealthy to cut soda out, then maybe your favorite snack. Proper Nutrition and Exercise is essential to good Health. Having said that, the point in the article that won me over. Was the part that said “this whole culture is the obsession with quick fixes and size." skin and bones are not "sexy" anymore than a sheet thrown over a skeleton is. However it is important to find the middle ground and try and stay there. In my own workout I have made cuts left and right. But not to healthy food, just to what isn't needed. I don't starve myself but I do ignore hunger if it isn't time for my next meal. The problem isn't that people are obsessed with being socially considered fit. The problem is how they try and reach these goals. Health isn’t the only place the “Quick Fix” attitude is damaging Americans. But that’s a story for a different article. I was only concerned at first that this article may have been a bit judgmental and less informative. Perhaps instead of pointing out the flaws in a system (which is easy to do by the way) if we offered a solution that would be more beneficial to those reading it… then maybe someone who is confused will be enlightened and not just angry and given an excuse not to do anything about themselves if they feel there is a need to do so.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone’s toes or offended anyone. I am very passionate about physical health. And I work very hard to be physically fit the right way. And if you can’t find any soft women look at “62% of Americans.” At least half are women and they are very soft. According to

Tara Lynn Thompson said...

Hi Sainsguitar, thanks for the great comment!

It's about health. Absolutely. I've learned to love being fit while having natural curves. And I hope to encourage it in others.

And it can be a touchy topic. All the more reason to talk about it. ;)

Appreciate your input!